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The new laws set to overhaul data protection practices in Europe

Once again, data protection regulation is in the spotlight this month. The EU is attempting to introduce laws that will clamp down on how our personal data is used, particularly by businesses and intelligence agencies. But according to Civil Liberties Committee chairman, Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP, arguments from Germany, France and the UK could delay the legislation into 2016. There are over 4,000 proposed amendments to the bill, after all. We look at why the legislation is so controversial, and what the consequences are for you.

In today’s digital economy, data is big business; the value of European personal data is estimated to grow to almost €1 trillion annually by 2020. The EU wants to establish a 'one-stop-shop' for data protection, arguing that this more streamlined approach will boost the European economy by €2.3 billion.

For businesses, the regulations could allow the EU to impose fines of up to €100 million, or 5% of their annual turnover (whichever's biggest) if they don't safeguard the information they’re processing adequately. They'd also have to complete a 'data protection impact assessment', investigating the effect of data usage on the rights and freedoms of their customers.

For individuals, the legislation will tackle issues you might be concerned about already. These include having easier access to your own data, gaining the 'right to be forgotten', and needing to give explicit consent before a company can use your data. It also proposes that privacy settings should be set as private by default, rather than getting users to do this manually. 

If you don't want to wait till 2016 to step up your data protection, we recommend reading the fine print of a company's privacy policy before passing on personal details, using individual, complex passwords and installing anti-malware software. This is particularly important when transferring funds or using new, unfamiliar technology. At The Money Cloud we take data protection very seriously; it's a core part of what our business is about. We subscribe to all UK data protection laws and guidelines; only collect information that's required by regulations or needed to improve our services; and store it securely. If you're unsure about how your data and funds are kept safe when sending money overseas, you can find out more in our 101 guide to international money transfer here [LINK: 101 GUIDE]. 

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